3 Reasons Veganism Is Incredibly Healthy for You
It has been over four years since I adopted a vegan diet and lifestyle in 2016. To this day, I still get questions from acquaintances and many new people I meet who want to know what I eat, how I do it, why I do it, etc.
These are extremely common questions that annoyed me at first. I quickly realized that most of the time, I was simply being asked them out of curiosity. People genuinely wanted to learn more about the vegan lifestyle, just as they do today. Four years ago, the vegan lifestyle wasn’t near as common as it is now. I’m sure the same will be said four years from now.
My case is unique in that I started out as an omnivore, became a vegetarian at about seven or eight years old, and adopted a fully vegan diet at age 19, when I was in my sophomore year of college. I still believe it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.
I’m not here to thrust my beliefs upon you, or try to turn everyone who reads this vegan. I simply want to inspire more plant-based eating and share with you some of the incredible benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle. Here are three of the top ones.
1. It can improve the following.
You’ll have a hard time finding a whole foods, plant-based vegan who eats a lot of saturated fat. This is because most saturated fats are animal fats.
As a result, a vegan diet can actually boost heart health. In fact,
“research suggests that the diet can improve heart health, protect against cancer, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Some of the deadliest killers in the United States include heart disease and various types of cancer. Adopting a vegan diet can drastically lower your risk of developing these life-threatening diseases. This is one of the top reasons veganism is so incredible.
2. Veganism can help lower blood pressure.
If you struggle with high blood pressure, eating a healthy, plant-based diet can help combat this issue.
“Various advantages associated with this way of eating — lower body mass index and blood pressure; reduced risks for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; and longer life.”
Of course, in order to reap these benefits, you have to eat mostly natural food sources. If you fill your diet with highly processed vegan food, you won’t gain as much from a vegan diet as you would by focusing on minimally processed plant-based sources.
“You can be overweight and be a vegan; you can be malnourished and be a vegan…Whatever your diet choice, you have to know which foods to avoid and which foods to seek out.”
If you choose natural sources, like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, etc., your health will receive a much greater boost.
3. It encourages you to focus on these nutrients.
No matter what diet you choose to follow, there are certain nutrients that come more easily than others. Even on a vegan diet, there are a few nutrients that you have to really focus on in order to make sure you get enough of them.
Jeffrey Soble, MD, states:
“To have a healthy diet of any kind, you need important nutrients…you’ll need to find new ways to incorporate them into your diet as a vegan.”
Veganism encourages you to become more aware of key nutrients your body needs to thrive. Some of the ones that vegans tend to be lacking in (especially new vegans) include protein, vitamin B12, essential fatty acids, iron, and vitamin D. Luckily, these five nutrients can be easily obtained naturally from vegan foods.
- Protein: tofu, edamame, chickpeas, lentils, nutritional yeast
- Vitamin B12: fortified cereals, fortified rice, soy drinks, nutritional yeast
- Essential fatty acids: whole grains, leafy green vegetables, almonds, walnuts, pistachios
- Iron: black-eyed peas, tofu, dried fruits, fresh fruits
- Vitamin D: 10 — 15 minutes of sunlight exposure per day, fortified orange juice, soy
As you can tell, there are natural vegan sources that fill all of these key nutrient requirements. When you focus on minimally processed plant-based ingredients, you will have no problem fully nourishing your body, regardless of whether or not you follow a vegan lifestyle.
What, how, and when you eat are choices that are entirely up to you. Regardless of the diet and lifestyle you follow, it’s important to know the benefits of including a wide variety of minimally processed, plant-based food sources in your diet.
I can confidently say that since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle four years ago, I now sleep better, have more energy, run faster and farther, think more clearly, and the list goes on. While I can’t necessarily attribute all of that to my vegan diet alone, I do think my healthy lifestyle has played an important role in how I feel each day.
In order to make strides towards a well-rounded, balanced diet, focus on eating a variety of minimally processed, plant-based ingredients every single day. In doing so, your overall health will benefit immensely.